Internet Censorship in Russia

 Russia restoring repressive state control of media



 

14th December
2008
  

Update: Unhampered Discussions...


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Russia withdraws internet censorship bill

Duma logoA draft law to toughen control over electronic media, including in the Internet, as part of efforts against extremism has been withdrawn from Russia's lower house of parliament for further discussion.

The Russian Vedomosti daily suggested that it may have been pulled at the request of the government.

In November, during his state-of-the-nation address, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pledged a commitment to free speech, saying that, No government officials will be able to hamper discussions in the Internet.

The bill proposed by the dominant, Kremlin-backed United Russia party allows the closure of websites for publishing for a second time materials promoting extremism. It would also order Internet providers to block access to the website.

 

28th September
2010
  

Offsite: Cyber Cossaks...


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Russia's blogging revolution

Russia flagArtyom Tiunov was recently detained by Russian police on suspicion of theft and subjected to 14 hours of brutal interrogation. The police hoped he would confess to a crime he didn't commit. They hoped he would provide them with an open-and-shut case; every police department has to present a certain number of these in a given a period or be subjected to severe questioning over their low clear-up rate. This pressure has become a major source of the abuse and corruption which everybody, including the police themselves, hopes to see off in the reforms scheduled for 2012-13..

But instead the police had to release Tiunov after being confronted with CCTV footage of him exiting a restaurant at the time of the alleged crime. Tiunov described the whole ordeal on his Livejournal.com page a blogging platform massively popular in Russia ,hosting over 1.5 million Russian-language blogs and the post, titled Wrong place, wrong time , attracted more than 1,000 comments in just two days.

...Read the full article

 

9th February
2011
  

Update: League of Internet Safety...

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Russia to recruit an army of 'simple people' to censor the internet

Russia flag One day there will be thousands of volunteers out there patrolling the Russian Internet. That at least is the dream of a new organization, the League of Internet Safety.

The league is formed by the three major mobile providers: Mobile TeleSystems, VimpelCom, and Megafon, and the state telecom company Rostelecom. It also features the head of Mail.ru, Dmitry Grishin, on its board of trustees, which is headed by the Communications and Press Minister Igor Shchyogolev.

Shchyogolev says thousands of volunteers, or simple people, would monitor the Internet and tell the league when they see dangerous content.  The league will also provide grants to develop filters to protect children from seeing adult material on the web too.

The league's stated purpose in the next year will be to fight against child pornography, organizers say. But they inevitably talked about expanding that mission to policing other negative content.

Pavel Astakhov, the children's ombudsman who is also a trustee of the league, called on Internet users themselves to refrain from putting anything negative, extremist, disgusting or dangerous online.

Bloggers, for their part, reacted skeptically to the new organization.

Anton Nossik, one of the country's most famous bloggers and Internet businessman, pointed out that China, which has far more control of the web than Russia, had its own cyber-militia to screen websites to report to the authorities.

Another blogger Maxim Kononenko slammed the idea, claiming that organizations like the Friendly Internet had limited success. He suggested that the League of Internet Safety would end up being sold as a business in the future.

Others suggested that the league was just another way for the state to abuse the Internet for its own purposes. In recent years, the security services and Kremlin-backed youth organizations have been active on the Internet, harassing those they view as ideological opponents.

 

2nd March
2011
  

Update: Russian Police Censorship...

Police given open ended powers to censor the internet without judicial oversight

Russia flag A new Russian police law has come into force that gives officers the right to take down web sites without a court order but industry representatives said police can already do that under existing legislation.

The police's right is mentioned in a report on intellectual piracy submitted by the Economic Development Ministry to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, which is preparing its own annual piracy survey

The ministry report, first leaked on the Marker.ru news web site, lists the police's right to shut down web sites among measures intended to help crack down on copyright infringement.

The police law provides officers with an instrument to terminate the activity of Internet resources that infringe on Russian and international copyright law, which was previously possible only with the judicial order or during investigation, the ministry said in the report.

The actual police legislation does not mention web sites, but contains vague wording that authorizes the police to order any organization to change or stop operations that contribute to criminal activity in any way.

 

21st March
2011
  

Update: Blog Propaganda and Identification of Activists...

Russian responses to fears of popular uprising as inspired by social networking

Facebook logo Western media outlets can't stop glorifying the Internet and social networks as the new tools for empowering grassroots resistance movements. This point is not lost on the notoriously suspicious Kremlin, which is convinced that the West has found a new means for advancing its interests after the color revolutions of the mid-2000s. Since then, the argument goes, the opposition is much more capable of orchestrating a regime change thanks to Twitter technology.

What's more, even weak or poorly organized opposition forces are capable of effecting regime change if their arsenals include Twitter and Facebook. As President Dmitry Medvedev said last week in Vladikavkaz: Let's face the truth. They have been preparing such a scenario for us, and now they will try even harder to implement it.

Medvedev's reaction shows that the Kremlin is taking the threat very seriously. The question now is how the authorities will respond if similar protests erupt in Russia. The siloviki and the presidential administration are the two agencies capable of responding to any Internet-based threat of revolution.

The Federal Security Service and Interior Ministry have demonstrated several times in recent years which approach they believe is best, registering every single Internet user to identify extremists and bring criminal charges against them. That is precisely how the they reacted to the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. They proposed Criminal Code amendments that would have made the owners of online social networks responsible for all content posted on their sites. Apparently, the idea is not to incriminate the owners of Facebook and Vkontakte of extremism personally, but to force them to pass responsibility on to individual users by requiring each to sign a contract that includes their passport information.

Meanwhile, the presidential administration has traditionally preferred more adventurous methods. A couple years ago, the Kremlin opened its own school of bloggers, and although the school was supposedly later shut down, the same initiative was taken up by the regions. This project was organized by the Foundation for Effective Policy, a think tank run by Kremlin-friendly political analyst Gleb Pavlovsky. The group is charged with a single overriding task: to resist the subversive activity of the West.

As mass unrest continues to shake authoritarian states in North Africa and the Middle East, the siloviki are pushing for the registration of social network users and waiting to pounce on anyone posting an extremist message and the Kremlin is funding pro-government bloggers. This will inevitably be interpreted by analysts as a new political battle between the government against the opposition.

Meanwhile, Russia's 40 million Internet users have shown remarkably little interest in this political struggle. This means that the Kremlin's battle to prevent an imminent Facebook revolution will remain largely virtual.

 

27th March
2011
  

Update: Searching for Political Censorship...

And finding it on a Russian search engine

yandex logo Russia's most popular search engine was embroiled in a scandal when internet users spotted it blocking images of opposition protests.

Bloggers complained that they typed Russian-language opposition slogans into the Yandex search engine and found that it showed only unrelated images while a rival search engine, Google, came up with images of anti-government protests.

In a post on Friday, blogger Igor Bigdan cited the slogan, It's time to change places, which opposition activists used on a giant banner showing Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and jailed oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Google.ru search brought up dozens of images of the giant banner, which activists hung on a bridge opposite the Kremlin last month, while Yandex showed unrelated images including cars and a pigeon.

 

21st July
2011
  

Update: Hazardous Politicians...

Russia implements internet censorship in the name of child protection
Russia flag Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a law supposedly protecting children from 'hazardous' information, the Kremlin reports.

The law sets a censorship level for information for children under 18 and classification of information products. This also bans schoolbooks with hazardous information.

Certain advertisements will be banned from education centers, sanatoriums and sports organizations for children within a radius of 100 meters.

Violation of the law will be punishable by 2,000-3,000 rubles for citizens, 5,000-10,000 for officials and businesses, 20,000-50,000 for legal bodies or a 90-day administrative suspension for business.

 

5th August
2011
  

Update: Listening In...

Russia to monitor blogs and social networking to keep tabs on 'extremism'
Russia flag Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev has called for limits to be imposed on the Internet to prevent young people from being influenced by extremism on the web.

The remarks fueled fears among bloggers, journalists, and rights activists that Russia may seek to adopt China-style restrictions on the Internet.

Nurgaliyev warned that young people are no longer united by the love songs of old and that they are prone to the malicious sway of an estimated 7,500 extremist websites operating on Russian territory:

Nurgaliyev later said the time has long been ripe to carry out monitoring in the country to find out what they are listening to, what they are reading, [and] what they are watching.

Nurgaliyev was not specific about what kind of controls he believes are needed. But he is, nevertheless, the highest-ranking official to call for restrictions on the Internet.

Security services expert Andrei Soldatov Andrei Soldatov, an expert on Russia's security services and head of the Agentura think tank, said Nurgaliyev's comments partially reflect a desire by law-enforcement bodies to stave off unrest ahead of elections to the State Duma in December and for the presidency in March 2012.

But Soldatov added that the Interior Ministry is also eager to win additional budget money to expand the online portion of a four-year-old campaign to combat extremism, which allows it to take preventive measures against those who may pose a threat: If we are talking about preventive measures, then we need to understand what people or person might in the future commit a crime, write something or publish something . For that you need to monitor what is going on the Internet.

Soldatov said the ministry would like to deploy special, so-called anti-extremism profiling systems such as one currently under construction by Roskomnadzor, an agency in the Ministry of Communications, that will monitor online media and new media in Russia.

 

20th September
2011
  

Update: Curtains for Russian Social Networking...

Russian led organisation will institute programme to control social networking

CSTO flagThe Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russian-led military cooperation body consisting of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, has announced that it will start controlling social networks to avoid the unrest seen in the Arab world.

From The Moscow News:

Sources in CSTO said:

Experts of the highest level are already working on this. The thing is, in the modern environment there is an infrastructure that allows for creating destabilizing situations in any, even the most trouble-free country. Mobile connections, social networks, even NGOs when needed, could be used for these aims.

After the Arab Spring and the much-discussed role of the Internet and social media, we'll see more and more of this Internet panic and knee-jerkism (from suggestions in Britain to shut down social networks after the London riots to this kind of blame-the-Internet-bots-rather-than-the-tyrants approach).

As countries like Belarus, Iran and Myanmar digest the lessons of the Arab Spring, their demand for monitoring technology will grow.

 

3rd November
2011
  

Update: Extreme Concern...

New Russian software set to search the net for supposedly extremist comments set to be launched in December

rozkomnadroz logoReporters Without Borders condemns plans by Roskomnadzor, Russia's federal supervisory agency for communications, information technology and mass media, to use search software to track down extremist content on the Internet. The agency is currently testing the software and intends to start using it in December.

When Roskomnadzor's software, using very vague criteria, decides that a website has extremist content, the site will be given three days to remove it. If it fails to comply, it will be sent two further warnings and then it will be closed down.

In a separate development, the justice ministry has announced a contest for the design of software that it could use for scanning and monitoring Internet content. It would scan for anything posted online about the Russian government and judicial system, and any European Union statement concerning Russia.

Our main concern is Roskomnadzor's very broad definition of 'extremist' content and the arbitrary and disproportionate nature of the sanctions, that can include website closure, Reporters Without Borders said: The creation of this software will establish a generalized system of surveillance of the Russian Internet that could eventually lead to the withdrawal of all content that troubles the authorities. It will inevitably restrict the free flow of information.

 

15th December
2011
  

Update: Opportunism...

Russian proposal to set up widely defined internet censorship in the name of blocking child porn

Russia flag Russia's industry organisation, League of Internet Security, has proposed creating a blacklist of websites containing child pornography and other prohibited information and oblige internet providers to block such sites.

The League's proposal followed its announcement that it had broken up an international ring of 130 alleged pedophiles circulating material via the internet.

Denis Davydov, the League's executive director, said the proposed bills also provide for tracking down extremist materials on the web, raising fears among the Russian media and internet community that they could make it easier for the authorities to crack down on dissent under the guise of fighting child abuse.

The League, whose board of trustees is headed by Communications Minister Igor Shchyogolev, proposed creating a special public organization involving experts, representatives of internet providers and search engines to monitor the web in search of suspicious content.

In line with the amendments, which have yet to be submitted to parliament, websites containing child porn are to be blocked as soon as they are identified, while those containing other prohibited information can only be closed following a court ruling.

Another proposal regarding internet security has been put forward by senior Interior Ministry official Alexei Moshkov, who said anonymous accounts should be outlawed on social networks and online forums to prevent internet fraud, blackmailing and child abuse.

 

1st April
2012
  

Update: Extreme Censors...

Russia announces plans to open regional internet censors supposedly targeted at extremist materials

russia interior ministry logo The Russian Interior Ministry has announced plans to open specialized centers to monitor online media for extremism, RIA Novosti reports.

Internal Affairs Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said that the new centers would track both text and audio-visual materials. According to Nurgaliyev, the decision was made by an interagency commission and will be implemented throughout the country by regional presidential plenipotentiaries.

Elaborating on the number of anti-extremism cases that the agency has undertaken, the minister said: Two hundred and nineteen cases of investigation and analysis were initiated in 2011. Investigative agencies filed 67 charges and issued 130 cautions, warnings and advisories. In 47 cases, access to particular internet resources was blocked and their activities were halted.

 

15th April
2012
  

Update: Sharing Blame...

Russia targets ISPs in its battle with file sharing

russia interior ministry logo The cyber crime department of Russia's Interior Ministry says it intends to get tough on the country's ISPs when their customers share copyrighted or otherwise illegal material. Authorities say they are currently carrying out nationwide checks on ISPs' local networks and could bring prosecutions as early as next month.

Having largely failed in their earlier bids to aggressively target individual file-sharers, in recent times copyright holders and authorities have been forced to look elsewhere for someone to blame.

Worldwide lobbying efforts have borne fruit and now it's almost routine to see ISPs dragged into the debate on illegal file-sharing and treated as if they are the reason the problem exists, or at the very least that it's their place to take responsibility.

 

16th April
2012

 Offsite Article: Internet Censorship in Russia...

Nervous Kremlin seeks to purge Russia's internet of 'western' influences. Now liberals and gay rights activists are among those feeling the heat from the Kremlin

See article from guardian.co.uk

 

 Update: Orthodox Homophobia...

Russian christians organise petition to ban Facebook over same sex marriage icons


Link Here 14th July 2012  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

facebook same sex marriage logoAccording to Russia Today, nutters from the Orthodox Church are angry at the Facebook's decision to launch same-sex marriage icons, calling them gay propaganda .

The nutters apparently claim that the icons could make young people tempted to explore homosexuality. In fact, the church in the city of Saratov, southern Russia, asked issued an ultimatum requesting that the social network stop flirting with Sodomites .

The nutters have organised a petition to get Facebook banned in the country. Vladimir Roslyakovsky, leader of the Orthodox public organization, spewed:

We demand only one thing: Facebook should be blocked in the entire country because it openly popularizes homosexuality among minors.

The US goal is that Russians stop having children. [They want] the great nation to turn into likeness of Sodom and Gomorrah, Roslyakovsky said. But I am confident that Russian laws and reasonable citizens will be able to protect their children from a fierce attack of sodomites.

 

 Offsite Article: The Kremlin makes its Move on Facebook...


Link Here 14th July 2012  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russian parliament has passed a law establishing a central register of banned websites. The new laws are ostensibly designed for child protection, but the real aim is to take control over the country's burgeoning social networks

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

 Updated: Curtains for the Russian Internet...

A Russian analogue to the Great Firewall of China


Link Here 19th July 2012  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

wikipedia russia logoWikipedia shut down its Russian-language page on Tuesday to protest at a bill that would boost government control over the internet amid a crackdown on those opposed to the regime of President Vladimir Putin.

The page was replaces with a Wikipedia logo crossed out with a stark black rectangle, and the words imagine a world without free knowledge written in block letters underneath.

The bill, due to be considered by parliament on Wednesday, will lead to the creation of a Russian analogue to China's Great Firewall the website warned in a statement. The bill calls for the creation of a federal website banned list and would have to be signed into law by Putin before coming into effect. Internet providers and site owners would be forced to shut down websites put on the list.

The bill's backers, from Putin's United Russia party, claim that the amendments to the country's information legislation would target child pornography and sites that promote drug use and teen suicide. But critics, including Russian-language Wikipedia, warned that it could be used to boost government censorship over the internet.

Update: Duma passes censorship bill

12th July 2012. See  article from  bbc.com

Russian Duma logoRussia's parliament has voted to approve a law that would give the government the power to force certain internet sites offline without court intervention.

The bill still needs to be signed by President Vladimir Putin to become law. It must also be approved by Russia's upper house, the Federation Council of Russia.

The Moscow Times reported that deputies amended the law to removed a reference to harmful information , replacing it with a limited list of forbidden content. The blacklist is now restricted to sites offering details about how to commit suicide, material that might encourage users to take drugs, images featuring the sexual abuse of children, and pages that solicit children for pornography. If the websites themselves cannot be shut down, internet service providers and web hosting companies can be forced to block access to the offending material.

But critics have complained that once internet providers have been forced to start blocking certain sites, the government may seek court orders to expand the blacklist.

Update: Upper house passes censorship bill

19th July 2012. See  article from  theverge.com

Russian Duma logoDespite criticisms and Wikipedia protests, Russia's upper house of parliament passed a controversial draft law today that would give the government far-reaching power over the internet in the country.

The New York Times reports that the Federation Council of Russia passed the legislation 147 to 0, with three members abstaining, and matches the version that passed the lower house, the State Duma, earlier this month.

Strident objections from the Russian-language version of Wikipedia, the country's Yandex search engine, and the Russian social networking site Vkontakte may have been responsible for minor changes to the language used in the law, which saw the blanket term harmful information swapped for the more specific types of dangerous content it now specifies.

The bill will now be making its way to the desk of President Vladimir Putin, and once signed will become law.

 

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 Update: Live Journal blocked in part of Russia...


Link Here 29th July 2012  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Live Journal logoA court in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, has blocked the popular blogging platform LiveJournal after one page was accused of publishing extremist material.

The ban, which will affect an estimated 60,000 Livejournal account holders in the region, and their readers, has been opposed by internet service providers and Roskomnadzor, the federal telecommunications regulator.

 Update: Black Day...

Russian internet blocking blacklist goes live


Link Here 3rd November 2012  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
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     Update: Extreme Forms of Censorship...

    Russians new internet blocking law censors 180 victims in 2 weeks


    Link Here 16th November 2012  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

    Mediawatch-UK bannerMediawatch-UK wrote on their blog:

    The UK [website blocking] proposal involves an independent regulator which would be tasked with setting clear parameters of what would, and what would not be, acceptable on a clean feed . Websites which felt they were being unfairly blocked would have a right to appeal any decision.

    Earlier this year we found that our website and blog were being blocked by filters designed to offer a safe browsing experience for children on mobile devices. These filters are applied as a default on all mobile devices which access the internet unless adult users choose to remove them. Although neither our blog nor our website include pornography such material is alluded to in the context of our campaign and our sites were being filtered out.

    We contacted the Mobile Broadband Group and pointed out the misclassification and it was a simple matter to get the restrictions lifted.

 

 Update: High Court on High Stakes...

Russian Supreme Court upholds internet blocking of gambling websites


Link Here 12th December 2012  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Russia flagThe Russian government which has decided that gambling whether online or off is not a good thing and prohibits the activity in all but brick and mortar casinos in zones at the very edges of Russia’s domain. Since 2009 the Russian authorities have closed and dismantled thousands of parlour casinos and underground poker rooms.

A decree that online gambling is a prohibited activity and the responsibility is up to the ISPs to block access to gambling sites now has the Supreme Court backing it up.

A recent lower court ruling exonerated ISP company executives from an area close to the Estonian border who refused to comply with the order to deny service to gambling patrons.

The Supreme Court however said the ISP must block the gambling site that is now on the government blacklist of over 1500 supposedly illegal web sites. The Supreme Court also extended its definition of bad, to include the dissemination of information related to the implementation of activities of gambling, which makes it necessary to disconnect even sites that contain only information about gambling portals.

 

 Update: Suicide School...

Russian internet censor tells Facebook that it would be suicide not to take down group about suicide


Link Here 29th March 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Facebook logoRussia's internet censor has blacklisted a Facebook group on suicide. The social network now has three days to block the offending pages, else the entire Facebook website could be blocked.

Russian media and communications censor, Roskomnadzor, has for the first time added one of Facebook pages to its blacklist of web sources with supposed offensive content. This Russian language group called Suicide school published placards, cartoons and mainly humorous advice on suicide, reported Izvestia daily.

Roskomnadzor confirmed to RT that it ruled that the social network should ban access to a page on suicide. Asked whether access to Facebook may be banned if it fails to fulfil the requirement, a spokesman said that Roskomnadzor will bend every effort to make sure that interests of decent web users in Russia are not damaged.

Under the law, the censor has to notify the internet service provider, which in turn informs the content provider of the problem. The content provider has three days to delete the illegal information. Otherwise, the entire web source will be banned and all Russian providers will be obliged to block access to it.

 

 Update: Living On to Fight Another Day...

Google lose test case appealing against Russian internet censorship


Link Here 10th May 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Google logo A test-case brought by Google to challenge Russian internet censorship has failed.

The case related to a video clip uploaded to Google-owned YouTube, which portrayed, using a blunt razorblade and fake blood, a woman cutting her wrists.

Russian regulators demanded the clip be removed, saying it provided information about how to kill oneself. Google complied, but filed an appeal, which has now been rejected by a Moscow court.

Google argued the clip was intended as entertainment rather than to promote actual suicide. In response to the ruling, Google said:

We do not believe the goal of the law was to limit access to videos that are clearly intended to entertain viewers.

The clip, entitled Video lesson on how to cut your veins , was deemed by Russian regulators to break strict new rules on web content thought to be harmful to children.

Perhaps it is relevant to note that the UK film censors of the BBFC used to cut sight of a particularly effective method of cutting veins when it was felt that not many people knew of this. The policy has now been adapted after the technique became more well known.

 

 Update: Banned But a Bit Unsure of Themselves...

Russian internet censor bans hentai


Link Here 19th July 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

anime exampleRussia's internet censors, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications has banned Japanese anime from the genre hentai . Censors claim it to be child pornography.

The censor department was not sure whether to define hentai as child pornography and so consulted external analysts. One such analyst claimed that these animated films exploit interest to sex often in perverted form , as well as there is no storyline and any cultural or historical value . Also according to experts all characters are presented as minors, who participate in pornographic scenes .

The internet censor will now demand that websites and web hosting companies remove all such content.

Hentai is a genre of the Japanese animation (anime) containing erotic or pornographic scenes. Characters are typically drawn with few features and rather indeterminate ages.

 

 Update: Deputies Sworn In...

Russian parliamentary proposal to block web pages with strong language


Link Here 31st July 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Russian Duma logoRussian Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina intends to make further amendments to the censorship Law on the supposed Protection of Children.

The chairwoman of the Committee on Family, Women and Children put forward a proposal to punish people for using 'dirty language' in social networks.

According to politician, posts and messages containing swear words, will have to be blocked within 24 hours, if 'harmful' information is not deleted. This should apply to pages on social networks, websites, and various forums.

Mizulina claims that children can begin to see profanity as a norm. The proposal was up for discussion on July 30th.

 

 Update: De-Onionisation...

Russia security service commissions legislation to ban Tor


Link Here 25th August 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
fsb logoThe head of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has personally ordered preparations for laws that would block the Tor anonymity network from the entire Russian sector of the Internet.

FSB director Aleksandr Bortnikov announced the initiative at a recent session of the National Anti-Terrorism Committee, saying that his agency would develop the legislative drafts together with other Russian law enforcement and security bodies.

The FSB official said that the agency initiated the move as internet anonymizers were used by weapon traffickers, drug dealers and credit card fraudsters.

At the same time, an unnamed source told the newspaper that not all Russian security specialists welcomed the idea, as various criminals often overestimated the protection provided by the Undernet, acted recklessly and allowed themselves to get caught. The blocking would require the development of some new methods of search and control in new anonymity networks that would appear soon after the Russian audience loses access to existing ones, the source noted.

Lower House MP Ilya Kostunov noted that the problem was important but doubted that it was technically executable. As far as I know, it is impossible to block Tor, Kostunov said. The network re-tunes quickly, switches to different hubs and starts working again.

The Tor Project administration also said that the blocking of the system was extremely difficult, adding that even Tor's own specialists could not control the information flowing through their servers or identify users.

 

 Update: Upping the Price on Pirate Heads...

Russian parliament introduces another censorship bill, 34 days after the previous one took affect


Link Here 5th September 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russian Duma logoRussia is now proposing even tougher measures against those who facilitate piracy. A new bill has been approved which allows for fines of up to $29,853 for service providers, search engines and users who fail to comply with a blacklist of sites already subjected to copyright complaints.

Just over a month has passed since Russia introduced new legislation aimed at cracking down on online piracy. The law, which has become known as Russia's SOPA, takes a tough line with those offering or linking to illicit content online.

Copyright complaints against a site or service can lead to that domain being added to a national blocklist, if their operators fail to render the illicit content inaccessible within a few days.

Just 34 days after the initial law was implemented, the government is pushing through further punitive measures for pirates and those deemed to be assisting them.

According to Vesti.ru a parliamentary committee has approved a new bill which will allow a range of Internet entities to be fined if they fail to block content and sites as dictated by the country's blacklist. The bill, which was approved in the first of three planned readings in the State Duma, introduces fines of up to one million rubles ($29,853) to be levied against search engines, web hosts, ISPs, and even regular web users. The heaviest of fines will be reserved for companies failing to comply with the requirements of the blacklist, while punishments for regular users are expected to sit around 5,000 rubles ($149).

 

 Offsite Article: Russia: We know what you blocked this summer...


Link Here 2nd October 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russia flag Index on Censorship reports on a very long list of internet censorship actioned under a new law

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

 Update: An Internet Iron Curtain...

Russia signals that it will block entirely 160 pirate websites


Link Here 13th October 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russia flag The Government of Russia has signaled it is about to take the broadest anti-piracy action seen anywhere on the planet. Russia's communications minister says the country will order local Internet service providers to completely censor around 160 identified pirate sites.

Just over two months ago Russia made some of its strongest steps yet against online piracy by introducing a formal system for rightsholders to have unauthorized content, or links to content, taken offline.

The system, dubbed Russia's SOPA, forces sites to comply with copyright complaints in a swift manner or face their domains being added to a national blacklist. Being added to that register is a serious business, since all local ISPs are expected to blacklist corresponding IP addresses so that local Internet users cannot gain access.

But according to comments coming out of the Government yesterday, Russia appears to be taking its anti-piracy initiative to the next level and beyond, fully living up to its SOPA billing. Ministry of Communications deputy head Alexei Volin said that Russia now intends to compartmentalize sites that are dedicated to piracy. They will be treated completely differently from other sites. He said:

There are a conscientious and diligent owners of websites, to which some people upload illegal or dangerous content. When it comes to this sort of thing, we order blocks of URLs and individual pages.

However, there are some specialized and entirely pornographic sites that are entirely blocked by IP address. The same principle will be observed in respect of torrents and sites engaged in outright piracy. We will not block them for some particular things, we'll close them entirely by IP address.

 

 Update: The Pied Piper of Kremlin...

The Magic Flute is declared adults only as Russia is led into ever more censorship in the name of 'child protection'


Link Here 9th December 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Magic Flute Metropolitan Opera Levine Schoolchildren in the city of Krasnodar will not be able to watch a puppet theater performance of Mozart's opera The Magic Flute this year. Censors at the Federal Mass Media Inspection Service put an 18+ label on the show. The reason: In the opera, one of the heroines wants to kill herself.

Age restrictions on access to information, including Internet sites, have been in place for more than a year in the country. But until now they had not been applied to classical works of literature and art. Soon this might change. On Dec. 4, the Federal Mass Media Inspection Service presented a project called The Concept of Informational Security for Children. Among its stipulations is a ban that would keep minors from watching on the Internet classical works of art that include images of the nude body in any form, and anything that might be considered erotic.

Censorship would also extend to works of literature in which the characters use alcohol and drugs or commit crimes, or in works where there are statements destructive to the social institution of the family.

A more radical proposal in the project forbids the depiction or description of mishaps, accidents or catastrophes in television and radio news shows before 9 p.m. If this becomes law, daytime news shows will revert to the Soviet standard of all day, all good news.

The State Duma is considering a draft law that would allow more sites to be blocked without a court order. This would be applied to Internet sites calling for mass unrest or participation in mass events conducted in violation of the established order. In normal language, this means that announcements of unsanctioned opposition rallies on social networks would be blocked.

 

 Update: Mass Website Blocking...

Russia threatens to block all the websites on a hosting service if that service refuses to take down content that Russia does not like


Link Here 1st January 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
roskomnadzor logo The Russian internet censor is threatening to block entire website hosts if they refuse to take down content that Russia does not like. US-based CloudFlare, a hosting company servicing at least 750,000 sites is on the blacklist.

Roskomnadzor is the body responsible for maintaining Russia's Internet blacklist. Sites can be placed on the blacklist for any number of reasons, from promoting drugs, crime and suicide, to failing to respond to rightholders complaints under the anti-piracy legislation passed earlier this year.

There are already tens of thousands of sites (including file-sharing portals) already on the list but if Roskomnadzor carries through on its latest threats the situation could quickly accelerate out of all proportion.

The problem, the censor says, is being caused by foreign hosts and service providers, mainly in the United States, who are refusing to disable access to a range of content that is illegal in Russia. Sites apparently hop around from location to location, but within the same provider, testing Roskomnadzor's patience. Spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky Said:

We have serious questions about a particular group of providers offering such sites hosting services. We ask them to block content, but they refuse to cooperate with us.

As a result Roskomnadzor says it is considering blocking a range of overseas hosts for failing to comply. They include Ukrainian host Vedekon.ua, Endurance International (US), Hostnoc (US), DataShack (US), Infinitie (US), and the torrent and file-sharing friendly OVH (France) and Voxility (Romania).

Rounding off the Russian list is CloudFlare , a US-based CDN company that assists many hundreds of thousands of sites worldwide. Back in March, CloudFlare experienced technical difficulties which resulted in 750,000 sites being taken offline. If the Russian's block CloudFlare, similar numbers of sites would be rendered locally inaccessible.

 

 Update: State Control of the Internet...

Russian parliament debates more onerous bills controlling information and money on the internet


Link Here 22nd January 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russian Duma logo Another Internet crackdown appears to be looming in Russia, where the Duma is reviewing three new pieces of proposed anti-terror legislation that could place hefty restrictions on the activities of website operators and civil society organizers.

Two of the bills address government surveillance powers---one would create new requirements obliging website operators to report on the every move of their users, while another addresses penalties for terror-related crimes. The third would set new restrictions for individuals and organizations accepting anonymous donations through online services like PayPal, a measure that could have an especially strong impact on small civil society groups.

The first of the three bills  creates new requirements for mandatory archives and notifications, granting the federal government wide jurisdiction. The most concerning article of the bill stipulates that individuals or legal entities who [organize] the dissemination of information and (or) the exchange of information between Internet users are obligated to store all information about the arrival, transmission, delivery, and processing of voice data, written text, images, sounds, or other kinds of action that occur when using their website. At all times, data archives must include the most recent six months of activity.

It appears that this obligation would apply to the owners and operators of websites and services ranging from multinational services like Facebook to small community blogs and discussion platforms.

Website organizers must also inform Russian security services when users first begin using their sites, and whenever users exchange information. Taken literally, this requirement could create a nearly impossible task for administrators of blogs, social media sites, and other discussion platforms with large quantities of users.

The second bill would broaden police powers and raise penalties for terrorism.

Finally, the third piece of legislation would place new limits on online money transfers. This draft law would raise limits on anonymous online financial transactions and ban all international online financial transactions, where the electronic money operator (e.g., PayPal, Yandex.Dengi, WebMoney) does not know the client's legal identity. The legislation also raises operating costs for NGOs, requiring them to report on every three thousand dollars spent in foreign donations. (Currently, NGOs must report on every six thousand such dollars.)

 

 Update: In Check...

Russia Blocks Access to Major Independent News Sites


Link Here 15th March 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Russia flag Russia's government has escalated its use of its Internet censorship law to target news sites, bloggers, and politicians under the slimmest excuse of preventing unauthorized protests and enforcing house arrest regulations. The country's ISPs have received orders to block a list of major news sites and system administrators have been instructed to take the servers providing the content offline.

The banned sites include the online newspaper Grani, Garry Kasparov's opposition information site kasparov.ru, the livejournal of popular anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny, and even the web pages of Ekho Moskvy, a radio station which is majority owned by the state-run Gazprom, and whose independent editor was ousted last month and replaced with a more government-friendly director.

The list of newly prohibited sites was published earlier today by Russia's Prosecutor General, which announced that the news sites had been entered into the single register of banned information after calls for participation in unauthorized rallies. Navalny's livejournal was apparently added to the register in response to the conditions of his current house arrest , which include a personal prohibition on accessing the Internet.

EFF is profoundly opposed to government censorship of the Internet, which violates its citizens right to freedom of expression, guaranteed under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We are especially concerned about the censorship of independent news and opposing political views, which are essential to a thriving civil society. Russians who wish to circumvent government censorship can continue to read these websites via the Tor Browser, which they can install using the Tor Browser Bundle .

 

 Offsite Article: Vladimir Putin and the rise of swearbots...


Link Here 17th May 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
swear box Russia generating automatic software to seek out strong language on websites resulting in large fines

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

 Update: 3 Ways the Russian Government Plans to Police the Web...

Russia wants to be able to snoop on internet users like what the the west does


Link Here 9th June 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Russia flag A new Russian law will go into effect on August 1, 2014, that requires a wide array of websites and online services to register formally with the government. Sites and applications that allow Internet users to communicate will be obligated to store the past six months of user-data on servers located inside Russia, making the information available to Russian law enforcement. Several state agencies are now involved in drafting bylaws that will determine how officials actually enforce the new Internet laws.

Four draft bylaws are making headlines in Russian newspapers. The proposed bylaws contain three main points:

  1. Websites and applications will be required to archive virtually every kind of information about their users (logins, email addresses, contacts lists, all changes to a user's account, a list of all accessed DNS servers, and so on). The actual content of the messages exchanged online, however, does not need to be archived.

  2. Sites and services that exist for personal, family, or household needs are exempt from the law, though this exception does not apply to the exchange of information of a public-political nature or to conversations where the number of participants is indefinite . Online commerce, scientific and educational activity, and things like job searches are also exempt.

  3. Finally, the Russian Federal Security Service (the equivalent of the American FBI) will offer websites and applications the opportunity to opt out of the data-archiving requirement, if they grant the government full, real-time access to their data. In this case, Russian police would obtain unrestricted access to Internet users' data, which officials would themselves archive.

It is this third point that could prove the most curious in the enforcement of Russia's new Internet regulations. How many websites and applications will decide to open entirely to the government, to spare themselves the trouble and expense of selecting and storing user-data according to the new laws? Is the Kremlin betting that it can gain full access to the RuNet by offering this loophole? Or is this a ploy by federal police to bleed the state budget of more funding, creating the need for subsidies to be plundered?

 

 Update: Everything You Need to Know About Russia's Internet Crackdown...

Putin's routemap to trashing the internet


Link Here 11th July 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
putin trashing internet The number of restrictions placed on the Internet in Russia since Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin in 2012 is daunting. What's been outlawed and what's still legal on the RuNet? To help people keep track of what's what in Russian cyberspace, RuNet Echo has compiled a chronological list of the most important laws to hit the Russian Internet in the past two years. For each law, readers can find links to the legislation's full text in Russian, as well as RuNet Echo articles in English describing the details and significance of each initiative.

The law that launched a thousand ships: creating the RuNet Blacklist

[The full text in Russian. RuNet Echo's commentary in English.]

Signed by Putin on July 28, 2012. This is law that launched the crackdown on Internet freedom in Russia. The law created a government registry for websites found to contain materials deemed harmful to children. Illegal content under this law includes child pornography, drug paraphernalia, and instructions about self-harm. Without a court order, Russia's federal communications agency is able to add to the registry any website hosting such material. Later laws have allowed police to blacklist other kinds of websites, too, using the infrastructure created here.

The 'Russian SOPA'

[The full text of the original law in Russian. The text of the updated draft legislation. RuNet Echo's commentary in English .]

Signed on July 2, 2013. Often referred to as the "Russian SOPA," this is an anti-piracy law that allows courts to block websites accused of hosting stolen intellectual property. What ultimately reached Putin's desk in July 2013 was a somewhat watered-down version of the initial legislation, which called for applying the law to a wide variety of content. (The law's final text addressed only stolen films.) The Russian Parliament is poised , however, to pass a new bill later this year that will expand the law's application to music, e-books, and software.

Blacklisting the news

[The full text in Russian. RuNet Echo's commentary in English.]

Signed on December 28, 2013. This law gives Russia's Attorney General the extrajudicial power to add to the RuNet Blacklist any websites containing "calls to riots, extremist activities, the incitement of ethnic and (or) sectarian hatred, terrorist activity, or participation in public events held in breach of appropriate procedures." In March 2014, police used this law to block four major opposition websites, including three news portals and the blog of Russia's most prominent anti-corruption activist. Since the law passed last year, the Attorney General as blacklisted 191 different Web addresses .

The law that got away: policing news-aggregators

In April 2014, Putin revealed at a public forum that the government was investigating the legal status of online news-aggregation services like Yandex News. In May, a Duma deputy asked the Russian Attorney General to issue a ruling about the status of Yandex News, to determine if the state should regulate such websites as mass media outlets. In early June, Yandex's CEO joined Putin onstage at a forum on Internet entrepreneurship, where the two chatted amicably about the RuNet's economic potential. On July 1, Russian newspapers reported that the Attorney General does not consider news-aggregation to qualify as mass media, aborting the Duma's effort to impose new regulations on Yandex News and similar websites.

The anti-terrorism package, aka "the Bloggers Law"

[The full text in Russian. RuNet Echo's commentary in English.]

Signed on May 5, 2014. This package consisted of three separate laws, hurried through the Duma after terrorist attacks in the city of Volgograd in December 2013. Two of the laws added new Internet regulations, creating restrictions on electronic money transfers (banning all foreign financial transactions involving anonymous parties) and extensive requirements for governing the activity of "popular bloggers" and the data retention of certain websites and online networks. The "law on bloggers" takes effect on August 1, 2014, creating a new registry especially for citizen-media outlets with daily audiences bigger than three thousand people. Bloggers added to this registry face a series of new regulations (against obscene language, libel, and so on), increasing their vulnerability to criminal prosecution.

Hard time for retweets

[The full text in Russian. RuNet Echo's commentary in English.]

Signed on June 28, 2014. This law allows the government to hand down five-year prison sentences to people who re-disseminate extremist materials online. The "law against retweets" codifies an existing police practice, but making the policy official could increase the number of such prosecutions in the future.

A digital Gulag

[The full text in Russian. RuNet Echo's commentary in English .]

Passed by the Duma on July 4, 2014. This legislation still awaits the Senate's approval and Putin's signature. The law, if passed, will require all websites that store user data about Russian citizens to house that data on servers located inside Russia. According to the legislation's logic, websites will be barred from storing Russian users' personal data anywhere outside of Russia (though the law's actual text is somewhat vague on this point, perhaps because of jurisdictional limitations on what Russia can mandate outside its borders). The law applies to a wide variety of websites, ranging from e-booking services to Facebook, affecting any website or online service operating on the concept of "users."

 

 Update: Launching a Missile at the US internet giants...

Putin signs law requiring US social network giants to keep their data about Russian users in local databases


Link Here 24th July 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
vladimir putin Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a new law to strengthen the country's ability to censor the internet.

Starting in 2016, the new law will require Internet operators to store Russian user data in centres within the country. Once data is stored on Russian servers, it will be subjected to Russian laws, putting it at risk for censorship. Companies that don't comply will be blocked from the web.

The move seems particularly targeted at US social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, that are based in the US and have previously proved elusive of Russian internet censors.

The new law came as part of a flurry of new legislation , including a law prohibiting protests. Some of the Internet operators targeted have warned that two years is not enough time to comply with the law, according to a Agence France-Presse report.

Internet expert and blogger Anton Nossik told the Moscow Times of the data storage law:

The ultimate goal is to shut mouths, enforce censorship in the country and shape a situation where Internet business would not be able to exist and function properly.

Update: New law comes into force

5th August 2014. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

A new law imposing restrictions on users of social media has come into effect in Russia.

It means bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers must register with the mass media regulator, Roskomnadzor, and conform to the regulations that govern the country's larger media outlets.

It includes measures to ensure that bloggers cannot remain anonymous, and states that social networks must maintain six months of data on its users. The information must be stored on servers based in Russian territory, so that government authorities can gain access.

 

 Update: Could real-time Internet blocking algorithms be coming to Russia?...

Moving beyond lists of blocked websites


Link Here 12th August 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russia flag With the RuNet already plagued by Roskomnadzor blacklists, blogger registration, and the blocking of Twitter accounts with no discernible justification, Russia now wants to introduce an automated real-time filtering system that will block websites that contain harmful content.

The proposed plan would add a second layer of censorship to Russia's already-pervasive website blacklist system , under which ISPs are required to block all websites containing calls to riots, extremist activities, the incitement of ethnic and (or) sectarian hatred, terrorist activity, or participation in public events held in breach of appropriate procedures.

According to an ITAR-TASS report , Russia would require ISPs to install smart filters that would screen and block harmful content , which would presumably be identified based on a pre-determined list of keywords. The smart filtering idea and its technical details have been proposed by the Safe Internet League, a Kremlin-loyal NGO partnering with several large Russian ISPs.

Safe Internet League executive director Denis Davydov explains that existing blacklists are not great at filtering out dangerous content, and says their system, once installed at the level of ISPs, could analyze web content in real time and easily block offensive pages:

We suggest introducing preemptive Internet filtering, which allows us to automatically determine the content of the page queried by the user in real time. The system evaluates the content on the page and determines the category which the information belongs to. In case the category is forbidden, the system blocks the webpage automatically.

The typically snarky personalities of the RuNet thought the League's new initiative would do nothing to create a safer online environment -- instead, the added layer of algorithmic bureaucracy would only contribute to the existing limits already imposed on netizens in Russia, and would make the users work even harder to access their preferred content.

Earlier this summer, Duma deputy Yelena Mizulina had already proposed an automated Internet filtering system in an attempt to protect the minds of Russia's youngsters. Mizulina demanded that the Internet service providers block adult Web content by default in an effort to create a Clean Internet. Consumers would be allowed to opt out of the filtration system, but only by making a special request to their ISP.

Davydov says developers at the Safe Internet League have already tested their two-step filtration model in Kostroma and Omsk regions, as well as the Komi Republic, and have found it works quite well (or so he says). Should the system go into broader use, it will generate a significant escalation of state attempts to control the Russian Internet. Users have found multiple ways of getting around blocks generated by blacklists, using VPNs and other circumvention tools to view their favorite blacklisted websites. If the smart filtering system is indeed implemented, one can only guess how quickly Russian netizens will learn to work around the new, ever-pervasive Internet controls.

 

 Update: Russia Just Doubled Its Internet Surveillance Program...

Explaining some of the details of Russia's mass internet snooping capability


Link Here 20th August 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

federal security service logo Under the Kremlin's Internet surveillance program known as SORM-2 , Russian Internet service providers are obligated to purchase and install special equipment that allows the Federal Security Service (FSB) to track specific words (like bomb or government ) in online writing and conversation. If officials request additional information about a particular user, the ISP must comply.

Until recently, SORM-2 applied only to ISPs. Last week, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree that will expand SORM-2's reach to online social networks and all websites that allow people to message one another. Sites like Facebook and Google are now obligated to install surveillance gadgetry, sometimes referred to as backdoors, that will allow the FSB to monitor Internet users independently. It's impossible to say exactly how this will work, as Medvedev's order prohibits websites from disclosing the technical details of the government's surveillance operations.

Decree N743 is intended to amend the controversial Law on Bloggers, which created a government registry for bloggers who have more than 3,000 daily readers. Registered bloggers are subject to media-focused regulations that can make them more vulnerable to fines and lawsuits than their less popular counterparts. Registered bloggers also are banned from using obscene language and required to fact-check any information they publish. Critics say the law places serious curbs on Internet freedom.

Medvedev's decision to extend Internet surveillance mechanisms to social networks surprised Russia's Internet companies. A PR officer from Yandex, the country's largest search engine, said the company received no advanced notice of the change.

Once again, it's unclear what we're supposed to do, what the actual requirements are, and how much all this will cost, said Anton Malginov, legal head of the Mail.ru, which owns Odnoklassniki.ru, one of Russia's most popular social networks. Businesses are still awaiting clarification from Russia's Communications Ministry.

If the government chooses to enforce every letter of Medvedev's decree, Russia's social networks will join ISPs in buying and installing equipment that allows the FSB to spy on users. Thus SORM-2 would have its 2.0.

At first glance, SORM 2.0 seems redundant, as social network traffic already passes through the wiretaps now installed at the ISP level. In order to obtain detailed information about individual users, however, the FSB must file formal requests, which can be a burdensome process. Installing surveillance instruments at the source of the data, however, will grant authorities the power to conduct targeted realtime surveillance. The procedure will be faster and simpler than dealing with ISPs.

Before August 1, websites were under no obligation to record and store users' data. The Law on Bloggers changed that. Since August 1, even before Medvedev interpreted the blogger law to be an extension of SORM-2, social networks have been required to keep certain information on file for six months. The costs of this storage will undoubtedly fall on businesses and, in turn, consumers. Websites that cannot attract additional advertising revenue might erect paywalls or even be forced to close down. These massive data stores can also be vulnerable to malicious hacking by third party actors.

And the degree to which extending SORM-2 controls to social networks will help authorities catch criminals remains largely unknown.

How should bloggers respond to these developments? Most Russian Internet users don't have to worry about anything. As Anton Nossik, one of the founding fathers of the RuNet, put it almost a year ago, the government's actions against bloggers are politically driven. For the most part, Russia's new laws don't threaten Internet users who steer clear of politics. Those who do speak out about sociopolitical issues, however, might attract the FSB's sudden attention, though there are only enough federal police to keep a close eye on the country's leading dissidents.

Of course, that may be little solace in a world where Big Brother never sleeps.

 

 Update: Defacement...

Russia moves forward a deadline for social media internet censorship


Link Here 30th September 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Russian Duma logo Russia's State Duma (parliament) has approved a bill to accelerate a new set of Internet restrictions that will provide for the banning of such web services as Facebook, Booking.com and Amazon.

A law requiring all online companies to store users' personal data on Russian territory was passed last July and was set to enter into effect in September 2016, but then awmakers submitted a bill to move the deadline forward by more than a year. The bill to set the deadline to Jan. 1, 2015, has now passed the crucial second reading.

Lobbying group the Information & Computer Technologies Industry Association said in an open letter on Monday that the rule would cripple Russia's IT industry. Russia simply lacks the technical facilities to host databases with users' personal data, and setting up the infrastructure within the remaining three months is impossible, the letter said. , The group said on its website:

Most companies will be forced to put their operations on hold, inflicting untold damage on the Russian economy

But their appeal failed to sway lawmakers, who fast-tracked the bill --- a procedure that, most political pundits say, implies endorsement from the Kremlin.

 

 Update: An Encyclopedia of Propaganda...

Russia plans to replace US Wikipedia with Russian Wikipedia


Link Here 17th November 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
wikipedia logo The Russian government is claiming that Wikipedia is US propaganda so plans to create a home grown variant able to provide proper Russian propaganda.

Newsweek notes that the move is the result of an analysis by Russia's National Library that claimed the U.S. website's content on Russia unreliable. It reported:

An analysis of [Wikipedia] showed it was incapable of providing Russian regions with reliable and comprehensive information about the life of the nation.

The Russian government claims their website will objectively reflect the country, its population and the diversity of the Russian nation, according to the statement.

 

 Update: Forever Blocked...

Russia extends anti-piracy law and takes the opportunity to impose further controls on other website operators


Link Here 28th November 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Russia flag Starting next May, Russian websites guilty of more than one copyright violation will be permanently blocked. The move comes as part of a new anti-piracy bill signed into law by President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, ramping up what many critics see as an already draconian set of copyright protection rules. Once a website is blocked by a court decision, it cannot be unblocked, according to the bill.

The bill extends a previous measure that was limited to video production, but amendments approved by Putin this week expand it to include all kinds of copyrighted content such as books, music and software. The only exception made is for photographs.

The amendments also oblige website owners to disclose their real names, postal addresses and e-mail addresses on the site.

An online petition against the amendments gathered more than 100,000 signatures in August, mandating a governmental review, but has so far been ignored by the relevant officials.

 

  Tartarstan vs xHamster...

Russian Regional court calls on the internet censor to block 136 of the world's main porn sites


Link Here 13th April 2015  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

tatarstan logoVladimir Putin once said half the Internet is nothing but porno materials. While a major academic study in 2010 found that, in reality, just 4% of websites were pornographic, it's an undisputed fact that there is indeed a lot of adult-rated material on the Web.

If the Russian court system gets its way, however, the number of legal pornographic websites on the RuNet could drop to zero. That's right: a district court in Tatarstan has banned 136 porn sites, and the language of its ruling implies that all Internet porn is hereby against the law.

On April 13, 2015, the newspaper Izvestia reported that a court in Tatarstan's Apastovsky district has ordered Roskomnadzor, the federal government's media censor, to add 136 websites to its Internet blacklist, if the sites fail to purge themselves of all pornographic content within the next three days. The list of websites includes xHamster, one of the most popular destinations for pornography in the world.

The local district attorney's office, which petitioned the court to crack down on Internet porn, cited in its suit obscure international agreements from the early twentieth century, Izvestia reported.

First, prosecutors pointed out that international treaties constitute an integral part of Russian law according to the Russian Constitution, even arguing, rather unorthodoxly, that international obligations take priority over domestic legislation, when the two are in conflict. Then, prosecutors cited the Convention for the Suppression of the Circulation of Obscene Publications, signed in Paris in 1910, and the subsequent international agreement signed in Geneva in 1923, both of which ban the production, possession, and distribution of pornographic materials.

The signatories to these international accords were, of course, the Tsarist Empire and the Soviet Union, and the Apastovsky district attorney says today's Russian Federation is still bound by these agreements.

According to an adult-film maker who spoke to Izvestia, Russian law is very vague about regulating pornography. The only law on the books, he says, is Article 242 of the federal criminal code, which delineates several illegal types of distribution, but does not clearly define legal ways to advertise, disseminate, and trade in porn.

How did the Tartarstan prosecutors flag 136 websites, Russia's largest-ever single ban request, for Roskomnadzor's blacklist? The district attorney's office says it searched Yandex (Russia's leading Internet search engine) for the terms Kazan prostitutes and porno video. Film experts at the Ministry of Culture then examined the websites on this list and confirmed that they are indeed brimming with pornographic content.

It remains unclear if Roskomnadzor will block these websites across Russia or only in Tatarstan. It is also unknown if Roskomnadzor and the Apastovsky district attorney will stop with these 136 websites, or wage a larger campaign against the millions of other porn sites online.

Whatever happens, this is just the latest episode in a broader crackdown on the Internet that has taken place in Russia since Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin in 2012. For some Russian Internet users, like musician Sergei Shnurov, Putin's third presidential term has already spoiled porn, whatever happens in Tatarstan.

 

 Update: Hand them over!...

Russia threatens to totally block the likes of Google if it doesn't hand over data or censor bloggers using their platforms


Link Here 22nd May 2015  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russia flagRussia's internet censor has written to Google, Twitter and Facebook warning them against violating Russian repressive internet laws and a spokesman said they risked being blocked if they did not comply.

Roskomnadzor said it had sent letters this week to the three US-based internet companies asking them to comply with its censorship laws. A spokesman said:

In our letters we regularly remind [companies] of the consequences of violating the legislation.

He added that because of the encryption technology used by the three firms, Russia had no way of blocking specific websites and so could only bring down particular content it deemed in violation of law by blocking access to their whole services.

To comply with the law the three firms must hand over data on Russian bloggers with more than 3,000 readers per day and take down websites that Roskomnadzor wishes to ban.

A law passed in 2014 gives Russian prosecutors the right to block, without a court decision, websites with information about protests that have not been sanctioned by authorities. Under other legislation bloggers with large followings must go through an official registration procedure and have their identities confirmed by a government agency.

 

 Update: Russia and China can learn a thing or two from Europe about censorship...

Russia to adopt Europe's censorship idea for a 'right to be forgotten'


Link Here 9th June 2015  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Russia flagRussia is to push ahead with a new right to be forgotten censorship law modelled on the EU version. The Kremlin has been eyeing up the European censorship and wants its own version running by January 2016.

The Russian versions goes a little further and includes an imperative for search engines to comply with requests made under the proposed Russian version rather than decide for themselves about whether de-linking is warranted.

Igor Shchyogolev, an aide of Russian president Vladimir Putin, claimed: Citizens must be able to use the right to be forgotten.

In Russia right to be forgotten censorship will be administered by state internet censors, Roskomnadzor.

 

 Update: Long forgotten freedoms...

Russia's parliament passes bill enabling internet censorship under a local version of the EU's 'right to be forgotten'


Link Here 5th July 2015  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russian Duma logo Lawmakers have passed a bill enabling further internet under Russia's version of the 'right to be forgotten'. The bill was rushed through parliament after only being submitted on May 29.

The new law, passed despite objections from Yandex, Russia's largest search engine, will allow people to censor search links about them that they do not like. i

The legislation is reported to be broader than the European Union's right to be forgotten initiative.

Yandex, after failing to get amendments incorporated, said it had major objections to the final version of the law said:

Our point has always been that a search engine cannot take on the role of a regulatory body and act as a court or law enforcement agency. We believe that information control should not limit access to information that serves the public interest. The private interest and the public interest should exist in balance.

 

 Update: The currency of repression...

Russian internet censors target informational websites speaking of bitcoin


Link Here 29th July 2015  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
bitcoin logo Russia's internet censor Roskomnadzor has threatened to block another news website over an informational article about the internet currency bitcoin..

Officials today told Zuckerberg Pozvonit , or Zuckerberg Will Call, which focuses on news related to Internet entrepreneurialism, that it must delete or edit within the next three days an article it published about bitcoins. If the website refuses, Roskomnadzor will block it.

The suddenly controversial article, titled What Are Bitcoins and Who Needs Them? was published more than two years ago in April 2013.

Roskomnadzor's warning is a response to a February 2015 court decision in Astrakhan, which determined that the article contains:

The propaganda of tax crimes in the area of legalizing [money laundering] income obtained in a criminal way and has a negative impact on the legal consciousness of citizens."

 

 Update: Ignorant Censors...

Russia bans Wikipedia over a single page about marijuana


Link Here 25th August 2015  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
wikipedia logoRussia has just banned Wikipedia over an article about marijuana. Roscomnadzor, the official internet censor, has ordered Russian ISPs to block the site. The ban is due to a specific article about charas, a form of hashish that is handmade in India. According to Roscomnadzor, the page constitutes instructions on how to make the drug, which makes it illegal under Russian laws.

Wikimedia.ru has declined to avoid the ban by removing the post.

Earlier this month, Russia briefly blocked the entirety of Reddit over a post about hallucinogenic mushrooms after Reddit similarly refused to remove the post. Reddit later accommodated the censors wishes so as to unblock the site.

The use of HTTPS, which encrypts traffic between websites and users, is having an impact on ISP level censorship as it prevents the ISPs blocking specific pages.

Update: Unblocked

1st September 2015. See article from microcapmagazine.com

Russia cancelled the ban on the Russian-language Wikipedia, which just lasted a few hours and created a stir among Russian online users.

The agency then removed Wikipedia from it's list of banned websites, quoting that the information in the article had been edited, in kind adhering to the court decision. Internet users however, noted that Wikipedia didn't seem to have changed or edited the page, but only re-titled it

 

 Update: Cut and Paste Oppression...

Russian looks to extend censorship control of the internet to cover the written word


Link Here 30th August 2015  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russian Duma logoRussia is looking to expand its control over the internet and is targeting the written word.

According to the deputy head of the Duma Committee on information politics, parliament will be considering new legislation to protect online media publications from cut-and-paste piracy. Leonid Levin said:

Indeed, there is a conversation with the journalistic community on the topic of additional changes in legislation, including for copy-paste [infringement]

We will analyze this situation and we are certainly going to look at the possibility of changes, including for the protection of media publications.

At this stage it seems likely that Levin is referring to the wholesale online piracy of complete articles and publications but no further details have yet been made public. But whatever the intent, plenty of space will be required to report news, generate analysis, express opinion and offer criticism.

 

 Update: Censorship Hub...

Russia censors PornHub and cartoons of politicians


Link Here 16th September 2015  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
pornhub logoRussia has blocked access to the world's biggest porn website. The government internet censor, Roskomnadzor, announced in a statement that a ban on PornHub and ten other pornographic websites has been enacted.

A court ruling from the city of Krasnodar that determined the adult sites violated federal laws concerning the protection of minors from harmful information has been cited as the reason.

A spokesman for the porn site in question released a statement saying the company:

Can confirm that Roskomnadzor has blacklisted Pornhub in Russia and [they] are currently investigating and considering available means to reinstate [the] website in Russia.

Additionally, Roskomnadzor announced last week via its VKontakte social network page that it was now also illegal to make Internet memes featuring exaggerated or fabricated caricatures of public figures. It cited a violation of Russian legislation on personal information in addition to besmirching the honor, dignity and business reputation of public figures.

 

 Update: RuBlacklist Blacklisted...

Russian internet censors block website monitoring internet censorship


Link Here 14th February 2016  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
rublacklist.net logo A human rights organization that monitors web-censorship and pirate site blocks in Russia has been ordered to be blocked by a local court. A legal challenge was initiated bit it failed to convince prosecutors.

When it comes to blocking websites, Russia is becoming somewhat of a world leader. Although not in the same league as China, the country blocks thousands of websites on grounds ranging from copyright infringement to the publication of extremist material, suicide discussion and the promotion of illegal drugs.

The scale of the censorship is closely monitored by local website Roscomsvoboda. More commonly recognized by its Western-friendly URL RuBlacklist.net , the project advocates freedom on the Internet, monitors and publishes data on block, and provides assistance to Internet users and site operators who are wrongfully subjected to restrictions.

It was advise on circumventing blocking that appears to have irked authorities, prompting a court process against the site that began in the first half of 2015. However, while the courts want the circumvention advice URL banned, it is standard practice in Russia to block URLs and IP addresses, meaning that RuBlocklist will be blocked in its entirety.

The website next says that it will takes its case against censorship to regional court and Russia's supreme court if necessary.

 

 Update: Banning onions...

Russia proposes to ban information about website blocking circumvention


Link Here 18th March 2016  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

tor logo Tor. VPNs. Website mirroring. The mere mention of these and other online tools for circumventing censorship could soon become propaganda under proposed amendments to Russian law.

Russian state media regulator Roscomnadzor plans to introduce fines for propaganda of online circumvention tools that allow users to access blocked webpages. The changes also equate mirror versions of blocked websites with their originals.

According to news outlet RBC, which claims to possess a copy of the draft document, Roscomnadzor would punish propaganda of circumvention tools online with fines of 3,000-5,000 rubles (USD $43-73) for individuals or officials, and fines of 50,000-100,000 rubles (USD $730-1460) for corporate entities. While the proposed fines may not be exorbitant, they set a dangerous precedent for the future.

Beyond restricting tips on accessing blocked websites, the bill also defines mirror websites and allows copyright holders to ask the court to block both the original website containing pirated content and all of its mirrors-- derivative websites that have similar names and content, including those translated into other languages.

In February 2016, Russian copyright holders suggested a similar draft bill mandating a fine of 50,000 rubles (USD $730) for ISPs that published information about circumvention. At the time, the bill's creators claimed Roscomnadzor supported the bill, but the state regulator denied it. Circumvention crackdown is bad for free speech

On the surface, Roscomnadzor's new bill seems to be aimed at protecting copyright holders and limiting access to pirated content online. But the implications of banning circumvention tools would be far greater. Russian officials have debated restrictions on VPNs and anonymizers for quite a while, but have so far stopped shy of branding the tools--or information about them--as illegal.

As with other Internet-related legislation in Russia, experts see the new amendments as deliberately overreaching and broad, making them ripe for abuse and further restrictions on free speech. If the legislative changes were applied literally, many innocuous pages with mere mentions of circumvention technology could be branded as propaganda.

Irina Levova, director for strategic projects at the Institute of Internet Research, told RBC that if the legislative changes were applied literally, many innocuous pages with mere mentions of circumvention technology could be branded as propaganda.

Levova believes Roscomnadzor and Russian copyright holders are deliberately pressuring ISPs in order to excessively regulate access to information online. According to her, Internet providers in Russia are technically capable of blocking up to 85% of websites on the RuNet, and any additional restrictive capability would involve mass IP-address blocking, which means even more law-abiding websites could suffer. Kremlin's creeping war on anonymity

To date, the biggest row around circumvention tools on the RuNet erupted after the website of RosKomSvoboda , a Russian Internet freedom and human rights organization, was blocked.

In February 2016, the RosKomSvoboda website was added to the RuNet blacklist registry because of a page on the site that educates users on how to circumvent online censorship and access blocked materials. RosKomSvoboda said the blocking and the court ruling were absurd, since neither information about anonymizing tools, nor the services themselves, were forbidden by Russian law.

Vadim Ampelonsky, Roskomnadzor's spokesman, stressed that the ruling against RosKomSvoboda created a precedent, since the prosecutor in the case who was in charge of enforcing anti-extremist legislation was able to prove that this information creates conditions for users to access extremist materials. Ampelonsky said the ruling could inform the future work of prosecutors and courts, when it comes to policing information that helps Russians circumvent censorship.

It is worth nothing that just a month earlier, in January 2016, Ampelonsky told the news agency RBC TV that circumventing online censorship does not violate the law.

RosKovSvoboda's website was eventually unblocked after they changed the contents of their page with circumvention instructions. It now contains their report on the court battle and an official Ministry of Communications letter, which provides explanations for some of the circumvention tools that the page previously linked to and explained. The activists also moved information and links to some other anonymizing and encryption tools to a separate page for their Open RuNet campaign.

For now, Roscomnadzor's spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky has confirmed to RBC news that the regulator worked with a group of copyright owners in Russia to draft the amendments to Russia's law On information, information technologies and protection of information and the Administrative violations code. On March 17 the draft was discussed with Internet industry representatives at a Roscomnadzor roundtable on regulating the RuNet, with companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yandex and MailRu in attendance. The bill will now go to the Communications Ministry on March 21 before it moves to the Russian Duma for voting.

 

 Update: Propaganda Control Center...

Center for Monitoring Propaganda and Disinformation Online Set to Open in Russia


Link Here 30th March 2016  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

russia internet monitoring and propaganda In December 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in the Internet Economy Forum, where he suggested Russian federal security service and other state agencies should make information threats their top priority and seek out tools for monitoring such threats online.

Now, a new center for monitoring information attacks is set to be launched in Innopolis, a new Russian smart city. Natalia Kasperskaya, CEO of InfoWatch and co-founder of the antivirus giant Kaspersky Lab, is launching her project there.

Kasperskaya told Vedomosti news outlet that the center is part of the response to Putin's suggestion to boost information security. Russia already has agencies that work to oppose and respond to cyberattacks, she says, but insists that her organization will be the first of its kind, monitoring and preventing information attacks online.

Kasperskays says she's currently looking for investors for the project, but acknowledges that at the outset it will function mostly with grant money and government funding, and will serve state and public needs.

The new monitoring center is the joint brainchild of Kasperskaya and Igor Ashmanov, CEO of Ashmanov and partners, a big player in the Russian media and communications market. The partners envision that the center will monitor the web using technology developed by Kribrum--another joint project of Kasperskaya and Ashmanov. Kribrum's social media analytics and reputation management software can scrape online content and analyze it for sentiment and emotion. Ashmanov says its capabilities are sophisticated enough to be able to predict an information attack online as soon as it starts, as well as to spot its organizers. Most of the monitoring efforts will likely target the Russian social networks and blogosphere, where political debates and metaphorical "mud flinging" are the most active.

Russian human rights NGO Agora reports that although content filtering and blocking remain the main tools of Russian Internet policy, they are largely regarded as ineffective due to the sheer volume of individual acts of censorship. In an effort to more effectively suppress dissemination of information and free speech, the Russian authorities are attempting to increase the pressure on users--and this is where evidence from monitoring initiatives such as the one proposed by Kasperskaya and Ashmanov could be seen as useful, especially when charging Internet users with legal violations such as posting extremist materials. Agora notes that the increasingly real prison sentences handed down for liking and sharing information published on social media aim to intimidate users and deter them from discussing sensitive social and political issues online.

 

 Update: Russian repression is a sure bet...

Russian region of Tartarstan proposes fines for users of gambling websites


Link Here 16th May 2016  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russia Tartastan flagTatarstan, a region in the Russian Federation, has proposed a bill that would bring significant fines for users of online gambling websites. The fines would be extended to parents or guardians that allowed their children to use gambling websites as well.

Proposed fines range between 10,000 and 20,000 roubles ($150 - $300) for users of online casinos. The bill also proposes a heftier fine in the sum of 150,000 roubles (approximately $2,300) for landlords that allow gambling on their properties.

Opponents of the bill however note that it is redundant as the current legislation in Russia completely forbids gambling even via the internet with very few exceptions.

 

 Update: Aggregated censorship...

Russia's Duma passed law to require that large news aggregators submit to state censorship


Link Here 20th June 2016  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russian Duma logoRussia's lower house of parliament, the Duma, has passed a bill that would censor the distribution of information by news aggregators with more than one million visitors a day.

Under the news censorship law, news aggregators such as Yandex will have to check that news is validated by state censors before it can be distributed. Russia's communications censor, Roskomnadzor, will have the power to ban news items. News aggregators will not be liable if 'unreliable information' is textual quotation from any media outlet.

The bill stipulates that only a Russian national or company may be an owner of news aggregators.

The law is expected to take effect on 1 January, 2017.

 

 Update: Store everything, report everything, decrypt Everything...

Russian mass snooping law is impossibly extensive


Link Here 20th July 2016  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

vladimir putinIt's been a rough month for Internet freedom in Russia. After it breezed through the Duma, President Putin signed the Yarovaya package into law--a set of radical anti-terrorism provisions drafted by ultra-conservative United Russia politician Irina Yarovaya, together with a set of instructions on how to implement the new rules. Russia's new surveillance law includes mandatory data retention and government backdoors for encrypted communications.

As if that wasn't scary enough, under the revisions to the criminal code, Russians can now be prosecuted for failing to report a crime. Citizens now risk a year in jail for simply not telling the police about suspicions they might have about future terrorist acts.

But some of the greatest confusion has come from ISPs and other telecommunication companies. These organizations now face impossible demands from the Russian state. Now they can be ordered to retain every byte of data that they transmit, including video, telephone calls, text messages, web traffic, and email for six months--a daunting and expensive task that requires the kind of storage capacity that's usually associated with NSA data centers in Utah. Government access to this data no longer requires a warrant. Carriers must keep all metadata for three years; ISPs one year. Finally, any online service (including social networks, email, or messaging services) that uses encrypted data is now required to permit the Federal Security Service (FSB) to access and read their services' encrypted communications, including providing any encryption keys.

Opposition to the Yarovaya package has come from many quarters. Technical experts have been united in opposing the law. Russia's government Internet ombudsman opposed the bill. Putin's own human rights head, Mikhail Fedotov , called upon the Senators of Russia's Federal Council to reject the bill. ISPs have pointed out that compliance would cost them trillions of rubles .

But now the law is here, and in force. Putin has asked for a list of services that must hand over their keys. ISPs have begun to consider how to store an impossibly large amount of data. Service providers are required to consider how to either break unbreakable encryption or include backdoors for the Russian authorities.

It is clear that foreign services will not be spared. Last week, the VPN provider, Private Internet Access (PIA), announced that they believed their Russian servers had been seized by the Russian authorities . PIA says they do not keep logs, so they could not comply with the demand, but they have now discontinued their Russian gateways and will no longer be doing business in the region.

Russia's ISPs, messaging services, and social media platforms have no such choice: because they cannot reasonably comply with all the demands of the Yarovaya package, they become de facto criminals whatever their actions. And that, in turn, gives the Russian state the leverage to extract from them any other concession it desires. The impossibility of full compliance is not a bug--it's an essential feature.

Russia is not the only nation whose lawmakers and politicians are heading in this direction, especially when it comes to requiring backdoors for encrypted communications. Time and time again, technologists and civil liberties groups have warned the United States, France , Holland , and a host of other nations that the anti-encryption laws they propose cannot be obeyed without rewriting the laws of mathematics. Politicians have often responded by effectively telling the Internet's experts don't worry, you'll work out a way. Let us be clear: government backdoors in encrypted communications make us all less safe, no matter which country is holding the keys.

Technologists have sometimes believed that technical impossibility means that the laws are simply unworkable -- that a law that cannot be obeyed is no worse than no law at all. As Russia shows, regulations that no one can comply with aren't dead-letter laws. Instead, they corrode the rule of law, leaving a rusting wreckage of partial compliance that can be exploited by powers who will use their enforcement powers for darker and more partial ends than justice.

Russians concerned with the fall of Internet freedom, including the Society for the Protection of the Internet (IPI), have planned a protest in cities across the country on July 26. EFF will continue to follow the situation closely as it develops.

 

 Update: Linked to snooping and censorship...

Russian internet censors given notice to LinkedIn that it will be blocked if it doesn't introduce a snooping access point in the country


Link Here 27th October 2016  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
linkedin logoThe world's largest professional network LinkedIn could soon be blocked in Russia. The company has failed to comply with a snooping law that obliges companies to keep data on Russian users in the country. A spokesman for the Russian internet censor, Roskomnadzor, said:

We are seeking a court order to block LinkedIn. We twice sent requests in the summer, but they did not provide answers to our questions,.

If the appellate court upholds the judgment, and it will no longer be appealed, the decision will enter into force within 30 days. We will include the appropriate IP address in the register of violators of the personal data rights, which means blocking.

This is the first company we are suing in court. In future we will use the same mechanism in relation to other companies.

 

 Updated: UnlinkedIn...

Russian internet censor is about to block LinkedIn for failing to allow Russian access to the internet activity of local users


Link Here 18th November 2016  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
linkedin logoThe professional social network LinkedIn is the first casualty of a Russian law that requires control of foreign websites via their Russian data being stored on a server located in Russia. This ensures that there is a local access point should the authorities wish to view the internet activity of Russian users.

LinkedIn's days in Russia are now said to be numbered, after a Moscow court gave the Russian internet censor Roskomnadzor permission to block the professional social network. The company hasn't moved its servers to Russia, and kept storing information about third parties who are not registered users of the network, thus failing to comply with another section of the new law.

The website will be blocked as soon as Roskomnadzor receives the reasoning (that accompanies) the court decision, after which LinkedIn will be added to a list of websites refusing to comply with personal data laws,

Russian President Vladimir Putin's Internet advisor German Klimenko told Kommersant that large companies had enough time to migrate their data. This not only concerns Facebook and Twitter, he added, singling out the social media platforms, which haven't complied with the law so far either, this applies to all foreign companies.

roskomnadzor logoUpdate: Blocking today

18th November 2016. See  article from bbc.com and article from fortune.com

Social network LinkedIn is now set to be blocked today in Russia. The country's internet censor, Roskomnadzor, said LinkedIn would be unavailable in the country within 24 hours.

Some internet providers have already cut access to the site, which has more than six million members in Russia.

In 2014, Russia introduced legislation requiring social networks to store the personal data of Russian citizens on Russian web servers. It is the first time the law has been enforced against a US-based social network.

The U.S. government said on Friday it was deeply concerned over Russia's decision to block public access to networking site LinkedIn, saying it created a precedent that could be used to justify blocking other sites operating in Russia.

Maria Olson, spokeswoman at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, said Washington urged the Russian authorities to restore access immediately to LinkedIn, and said the restrictions harmed competition and the Russian people.

 

 Update: Walling off the Russian internet...

Russia is getting Chinese help to censor its internet


Link Here 30th November 2016  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Great Firewall of ChinaRussia wants to step up its ability to censor the Internet, and it's turning to China for help. China's Great Firewall is the envy of the Putin regime.

The Russian government recently passed a series of measures known as Yarovaya's laws that require local telecom companies to store all users' data for six months, and hang on to metadata for three years. And if the authorities ask, companies must provide keys to unlock encrypted communications.

There has been some skepticism as to whether such laws would -- or even could -- be enforced but earlier this month Russia's internet censor, Roskomnadzor, blocked all public access to LinkedIn.

What's more, it is now clear that Russia has been working with authorities in charge of censoring the Internet in China to import some aspects of the Great Firewall that have made it so successful. According to the Guardian , the two countries have been in close talks for some time, and the Chinese digital equipment maker Huawei has been enlisted to help Russian telecom companies build the capacity necessary to comply with Yarovaya's laws.

 

 Update: Suicide Watch...

Russia's internet censors casts its nets wide when banning websites referencing suicide


Link Here 9th January 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
roskomnadzor logo

 

 Update: Blocking unblocking...

Russian government gets nasty with internet censorship circumvention services


Link Here 21st April 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russia flagThe Russian government is preparing to scale-up its war on people accessing blocked webssites by hitting services that provide workarounds. A new bill developed by the government requires VPNs and other anonymizing services to stop providing access to blocked domains. If they do not, they themselves will also be blocked. Search engines also face sanctions for linking to banned sites.

When it comes to blocking websites, Russia is quickly emerging as a world leader. Tens of thousands  of sites are now blocked in the country on copyright infringement and a wide range of other censorship grounds.

Of course, Russian citizens are not always prepared to be constrained by their government, so large numbers of people regularly find ways to circumvent ISP blockades. The tools and methods deployed are largely the same as those used in the West, including VPNs, proxies, mirror sites and dedicated services such as Tor.

To counter this defiance, the Russian government has been considering legislation to tackle sites, tools and services that provide Internet users with ways to circumvent blockades. According to local news outlet Vedomosti , that has now resulted in a tough new bill.

Russia's plan is to issue a nationwide ban on systems and software that allow Internet users to bypass website blockades previously approved by telecoms watchdog Roskomnadzor. This means that if a VPN, proxy or similar tool unblocks torrent site RuTracker, for example, it will be breaking the law. As a result, it too will find itself on Russia's banned site list.

The publication says it has confirmed the bill's existence with a federal official and several Internet service provider sources.

As previously reported , Russia also has search engines in its sights. It wants to prevent links to banned sites appearing in search results, claiming that these encourage people to access banned material. The new bill reportedly lays out a new framework which will force search engines to remove such links. Failing to do so could result in fines of up to $12,400 per breach, clearly a significant issue for companies such as Google and local search giant Yandex.

 

 Update: Your friend Vladimir is currently watching 'Bareback Horseplay' on Pornhub...

Russian Pornhub implements age verification for websites by mandatorily logging in to social media


Link Here 23rd July 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
pornhub logoThe wolrd's most popular porn website, Pornhub has introduced stringent age verification checks at the bequest of the Russian government.

PornHub is now asking Russian viewers to verify their age by logging in with their social media account on VKontakte, Russia's answer to Facebook.

This is a stricter requirement than logging in via Facebook or Google as VKontakte itself requires connection to a mobile phone that has been mandatorily registered against a passport.

Verification through a social media account may be daunting to those concerned that the same company which has the contacts of their close family and friends is also aware of their porn watching habits. Though PornHub has promised a third party would not get more users' information than before, the consensus on its VKontakte page showed some of its biggest fans are precisely concerned that may happen.

The system was considered the most effective and simple way to ensure compliance with Russian laws about the access to the content for adults. Dmitry Kolodin, a representative of PornHub in Russia told news site Meduza, confirming the new measure came into effect Thursday.

 

 Update: Protesting against laws to block website unblocking...

Russian protest in Moscow against repressive new internet controls


Link Here 29th August 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russia flagAbout 1,000 Russians demonstrated in Moscow on 26th August against repressive government controls on Internet use. They shouted slogans such as Russia will be free and Russia without censorship ,.

In July, Russia's parliament voted to outlaw web tools that let Internet users sidestep official bans of certain websites.  It allows telecommunications censor Roskomnadzor to compile a list of so-called anonymiser services and prohibit any that fail to respect the bans, while also requiring users of online messaging services to identify themselves with a telephone number.

 

 Offsite Article: Censorship is good for us...


Link Here 7th September 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russia flag Somehow the Russian government has persuaded many of its citizens to avoid websites and social media platforms that are critical of the government, a new study has found.

See article from phys.org

 


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